3 Reasons Why Winter is Mountain Biking Season

We’re here with another segment in our mountain bike monthly feature….this time Greg from Singletracks is here to give you 3 reasons why winter is mountain biking season.

3 Reasons Why Winter is Mountain Biking Season

by Greg Heil

My road biking compatriots tell me that we have some of the best road riding on the East Coast here in Dahlonega, Georgia. Since the local mountains were once the most challenging stage in the Tour De Georgia and are now home to the popular Six Gap Ride (drawing 2,500 riders), guess I believe them. Still, when the winter makes its annual appearance, many riders who primarily roll on the pavement take to the woods… and here’s why:

1. Lack of Light

Unfortunately, we don’t have nearly as many hours of daylight during the winter months, which can turn dangerous on the road. Sure, you can strap on a headlamp and a taillight, but even in the best of conditions battling traffic can be dangerous. Pedaling the roads at night truly opens you up to a bad accident.

Mountain bikers, however, don’t have to worry about thousands of pounds of metal controlled by human beings more concerned with their cell phones than the bikers that they’re hurtling past at 60 miles per hour. Consequently, we just strap on high-powered helmet lights, head into the trees, and just keep riding all winter long!

2. Less Wind Chill

Riding a mountain bike creates much less wind chill than riding a road bike does due to the slower speeds. Also, since mountain bikers generally ride deep in the forest, the tight tree cover helps to cut down the speed of any regular wind much more than riding on a wide open road.

3. Fat Bikes

Fat bikes are a new breed of mountain bike that are quickly gaining a passionate following. While mountain bikes already have much fatter tires than road bikes, fat bikes take it to a ‘hole ‘nuther level with tires measuring 3” wide, 4” wide, and even wider! This wide width helps the bikes to float on loose surfaces such as snow and sand, and also allows the rider to run lower tire pressures without the fear of flatting. Lower tire pressures also help to increase traction, creating a bike that can perform comfortably in a variety of adverse conditions.

Instead of spending all winter on the trainer, try mountain biking instead!

Your Turn: How do you get the miles in during the winter?


Greg Heil started riding mountain bikes seriously in 2007, and since that time has ridden hundreds of trails all across the United States.

He is the Social Media Coordinator, and an editor, for Singletracks.com, which is your source for everything mountain biking: the number one mountain bike trail map database in the world, a daily blog, gear reviews, forums, photo of the day, and more! Be sure to drop by the site and check it out, and to “follow” them on Twitter.

Photos c/o maddslacker and chukt

  • bob

    Winter is the best cause I never overheat.

  • maddslacker

    re: #2 .. what are these trees of which you speak?

  • http://twitter.com/myrnacgmibus Myrna CG Mibus

    Rode trails in the dark for the first time last night with a group of friends – two on mountain bikes and three of us on fatties (I have a Salsa Beargrease). What a great time! Never thought mountain biking, let along biking at night at all, would be something I would do – but I love it!

  • Michael Daugherty

    Thanks for the post, that is good to know.You will need clothes for winter riding, here is an article on that subject. Thanks http://www.mntbike.com/clothes-for-winter-riding/

  • http://www.texasmountainbiketrails.com/ Shawn McAfee

    This is 100% true! Thanks for pointing out the awesomeness of mountain biking!

    • http://twitter.com/singletrackscom Singletracks Dot Com

      No problem! ;)

  • knucklehead

    Just starting my second winter with my fat bike (Sales Mukluk) . Winter biking is AWESOME! Riding trough the woods with a fresh blanket of snow under a full moon is a zen -like experience ….if you haven’t tried it yet, get on a fattie!!

  • larryburke

    Night riding after a snowstorm is surreal. The woods are bright from all the snow and quiet after the storm passes. It is otherworldly. No lights are needed.

  • chukt

    I get the miles in by riding that bike pictured in #3!!

  • George

    love number 3. I need to get myself a fat bike.

  • Aaron

    Winter is definitely a great time to ride where I live now – Austin Texas. Days in the 60′s and 70′s – even low 80′s sure beats the 100+ degree days of summer. When I lived in Pittsburgh, winter was a different story. Cold and wet, with a lot of slush and mud making the trails a whole new type of challenge – and not a fun challenge either. I definitely don’t miss those rides.

    • http://twitter.com/singletrackscom Singletracks Dot Com

      See #3 ;)

  • http://about.me/Aaronthestrong Aaronthestrong

    Agreed! I just got my first mountain bike (a sweet Kona Unit 29er) and I have barely been off of it since the weather turned.

  • S Williams

    I totally agree. I switch from road to mountain as soon as the roads get messy and the temperatures drop. It keeps me riding and then I really look forward to getting back on my road bike in the spring.

    • http://twitter.com/singletrackscom Singletracks Dot Com

      Awesome, that’s great to hear!